Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blue Dress Yellow Shoes Green Purse

A student I work with just finished reading "The Giver". Though I was in junior high, like so many others when they have to read this classic, I still remember how that book creeped me out. I've always been obsessed with memory, what it means, how to preserve it, how it teaches us, so The Giver sounded like my idea of hell. A society that lets only one person remember pleasure, pain, the feel of snow, the rush of a first kiss... hell.

But I forgot one of the other main ideas in the Society of "The Giver". The concept of choice. It comes up when Jonas, who is the next person chosen to keep all the memories of the community, learns about color. In his Society there is no color. He wishes that "colors still existed so that people could have the pleasure and freedom of choosing between them."

He thinks about it some more, and, since it is still early in the story and he has not quite realized how twisted the Society is, he comes to this conclusion: if people were allowed to choose between colors, they might get so used to making choices that they would want to choose their jobs and their spouses. These are decisions that will have a serious effect on their lives and on the life of the community, and a wrong choice could be disastrous. He then says “We really have to protect people from wrong choices." His community teaches that wrong choices are to be avoided at all costs to protect the Society from disruption and damage. The citizens accept this and allow designated knowledgeable people to make choices for them.

I've made dozens of major decisions in this past year that have had a significant impact on my life and sometimes on those around me. I think I live in a time and country where I'm afforded the opportunity to have more choices than in any era previous, in regards to finance, work, school, love, travel, media, clothes, beliefs... The overwhelming options for my generation, in some ways, can be a hindrance, with so many directions to go it can be difficult to choose just one, and then be happy with it.

But again, a society that left me no option but a grey dress to wear, every day, to save me from the responsibility of continually having to choose and possibly do it wrong... that is hell.

Be there disruption, damage or error, give me a wardrobe filled with every color of the rainbow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gold Thread

There are a few messages in my voicemail that I can't delete.

One is from almost two years ago. I remember picking it up for the first time, I was driving home from work, distracted, but my dad's rich voice stilled my frenzied thoughts...

"Hello my daughter! I was just talking to a young lady I met today about you... she is young and unexpectedly pregnant but in a serious relationship- basically the mirror image of what your mother and I went through. Anyway, I was telling her about how I found out about true love, when I saw my daughter for the first time. I love you, Corinne."

There's another message I keep, it came the day after he found out about my major breakup with my longtime boyfriend...

"I just called to say i love you, I called to say I've been praying for you. Today is a great day Corinne, it's a day the Lord has made, I love you my daughter, keep strong."

The third one from him that I can't delete, that came just a couple weeks after the second one, completely summarizes the message he's been sending me, without end, unconditionally, my entire life...

"Just called to say I love ya, thought I'd call you and see how you're doing, you rock, my daughter, you're young and beautiful and successful and you've got the whole world by the tail. I love you."

Twenty-seven years ago today my dad celebrated his twenty-second birthday. A month later, I was born. As young as he was when he became a father, as much as he's gone through since, he's made his love and admiration for me so evident, so constant, that it's become part of my narrative of how I've become a confident young woman, even when I haven't displayed the qualities that he's always used to describe me.

He is not perfect, and neither am I. But I'm one of the lucky girls, I know.

"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself."
~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994

*a daddy/daughter-made sandcastle, 08/2008

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Since I first met this quote so many years ago in Rhetoric class I have never forgotten it...

"The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing."
-Blaise Pascal